by Shirley Leung
My family and friends have been directly impacted by failed land use and housing policy in Washington State for decades. Though I didn’t realize it until recently, it’s no exaggeration to say that these land use policies have shaped almost every aspect of my life since my family immigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong in the early ’90s.
Continue reading OPINION: Better Land Use Means More Opportunity for My Family and Yours
by Vallerie Fisher
Seattle voters have another decision to make this year — and this one should be a no-brainer! Seattle Public Schools (SPS) has two critical levies on the ballot and as a South Seattle educator, I urge you to vote “YES” by Feb. 8.
These levies are voted on for renewal every three years — most recently in 2019. Seattle voters have supported these levies year after year because our students rely on this funding for everything from textbooks to after-school programs. These levies are an investment in our children’s future and well-being.
Continue reading OPINION: Vote ‘YES’ for Seattle Schools by February 8
by William Lau
Content Warning: transphobic hate crimes, anti-Blackness, murder, incarceration
In the spring of 2021, I moved to Columbia City. I found the neighborhood to be welcoming and exciting. It’s close to bookstores and Asian grocery stores, and I spent much time going on walks around my home. On my walks, I paid close attention to public boards and postings. I found posters advertising community events and marches, as well as stickers declaring various points of view about the pandemic.
One day, I was surprised to come across a red sticker on a street pole that said “protect children from gender clinics.” I’d heard this phrase before. As a transgender man, I’m very familiar with the various right-wing dog whistles used to deny health care to my community. The claim that clinics that offer transgender health care prey upon children is a blatant lie, even as bills passed in the U.S. make it increasingly harder for transgender youth to receive care.
Continue reading OPINION: The Ubiquity of Transmisogyny in Seattle
by Anita Khandelwal
The only humanitarian response to the COVID-19 crisis in the county jail is to reduce the number of people incarcerated there.
On Jan. 6, a person who had already been jailed for more than two weeks on suspicion of possessing a stolen vehicle waited in a King County Correctional Facility (KCCF) cell for an arraignment hearing in Superior Court. Shortly before the scheduled hearing, the court cancelled his hearing. Why? Because he had been jailed in a unit that also had a person who tested positive for COVID-19 and was being held in quarantine.
Had his hearing occurred, he would have been told what crime he was alleged to have committed and been able to seek his release. Instead, he languished in jail for another four days before he had his hearing, where the court agreed to release him to house arrest. But jail policy and COVID-19 again blocked his exit: The jail would not arrange for house arrest because he might have been exposed to COVID-19, so he waited another nine days before being released.
Continue reading OPINION: King County Must Reduce Jail Population Immediately
by Nina Valerio
Last year, we heard a lot about how people wanted to opt out of the new WA Cares Fund program and how the program isn’t perfect. Well, now our legislators are moving quickly to pass two bills that will strengthen and improve this program — the first of its kind in the nation — to provide flexible, affordable benefits to help workers pay for long-term care when the time comes that they need it.
Continue reading OPINION: Thinking of Opting Out of ‘WA Cares’? Think Again
by Tierra Bonds
“Black people are lazy! They are financially irresponsible and buy things they can’t afford, like jewelry and nice cars. They even have kids they can’t afford. They don’t educate themselves on finances, and when they pursue higher education, they often don’t get degrees that make enough money.” — said by a large portion of society using stereotypes to justify the lesser economic state of Black Americans and, in some cases, justify their privilege.
Hearing these types of statements as a Black teenage girl 15 years ago led me to work two jobs while in high school and in college. I did this to make ends meet, break these stereotypes, and avoid being labeled as a lazy, poor, or dumb Black girl. Imagine how much weight this was.
Continue reading OPINION: Credit Programs for BIPOC Communities Can Reduce the Racial Wealth Gap
by Larry Gossett
The annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March and Rally will take place on Monday morning, Jan. 17, beginning at 11 a.m. at Garfield High School.
Please remember that the Seattle Martin Luther King Jr. Organizing Coalition, as always, desires that as many people as possible join us for the 40th straight year that we are hosting a community salute and tribute to MLK Jr.’s marvelous effort to bring about racial and economic justice for all people in the United States.
Continue reading OPINION: Seattle’s Enduring Connection to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
by Patheresa Wells
Every morning — well, almost every morning — I get up, and the first thing I do is complete three longhand pages of writing. This exercise is a creative brain dump based on the “morning pages” exercise found in The Artist’s Way. Usually, what I write in my pages stays there. But occasionally, an idea sticks with me and asks for more room. This holiday season, as I reflected over the past few months, the past year, and how long it has been since we have been in this pandemic, a thought stuck with me beyond the written page. It’s something I’ve had to tell myself many times in the past, something that I have never really felt: that it’s okay to take a break — if you can.
Continue reading OPINION: What I Am Taking Into 2022: It’s Okay to Take a Break — if You Can
by Emi Ponce de Souza with An-Lon Chen
Just over a year ago, my son Eric Anthony Souza-Ponce, then a high school senior, filed a formal complaint against Ballard High School. Over the course of a semester, English teacher Wendy Olsen had perpetrated negative racial stereotypes and Principal Keven Wynkoop had shielded her from responsibility. We hope that detailing our family’s experience will help make the complaint process easier for fellow Seattle Public Schools (SPS) students and their families to navigate.
Our case took ten months from beginning to end. Several weeks after The Seattle Times ran an article about the district’s findings, at least two other families filed complaints. Shortly after those complaints were filed, the district placed Principal Wynkoop on administrative leave without specifying its reasons.
This was an important step, but only a partial one. Wendy Olsen continues to teach at Ballard High. Acting Principal Dr. Joseph Williams III, a Black man, faces an uphill battle in trying to change an entrenched culture. Perhaps most glaringly, none of the district’s determinations addressed the issue of race. Trying to prove a school-wide history of racial microaggressions was like nailing Jell-O to the wall.
Continue reading OPINION: Fighting a Hostile Learning Environment Within Seattle Public Schools
by Bob Hughes, Ed.D.
According to reporting by KUOW, two schools in King County account for the overwhelming majority of the juvenile COVID-19 cases in the county. Both schools are affiliated with churches belonging to the Assemblies of God denomination. Because I have some personal knowledge of that branch of the Christian tree, I wasn’t surprised by the news. As someone who has spent his adult life working in education, though, I’m saddened that any school would ignore science and the safety of its community to adopt radical beliefs that put children at risk.
Continue reading OPINION: Fundamentalism and the Radical Right — a Personal Story